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A '''Banyan''' (also '''Banian''') is a Ficus|fig that starts its life as an epiphyte (a plant growing on another plant) when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree (or on structures like buildings and bridges). "Banyan" often refers specifically to the Indian banyan (''Ficus benghalensis)'', which is the national tree of the Republic of India, though the term has been generalized to include all figs that share a characteristic life cycle, and systematics|systematically to refer to the subgenus '''''Urostigma'''''.Note usage of "Banyan" versus "banyan" in by Vidya R. Athreya, ''Nature Watch,'' July 1997; also [ "Aerial-rooting banyan trees"], Like other fig species (including the common edible fig ''Common fig|Ficus carica''), banyans bear...
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